Mission Statement

The Asian Elephant Art & Conservation Project (AEACP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving the diminishing number of Asian elephants left on our planet through its work with domesticated elephants. The AEACP raises funds through donations and the sale of artwork created by elephants in order to fulfill its mission.

The AEACP exists to:

  • improve the welfare of domesticated elephants by facilitating appropriate standards of training, care, food and habitat.
  • help support the efforts of conservation organizations working to sustain and protect wild elephant populations.

The AEACP mission includes the following interrelated initiatives:

I. Domesticated Elephant Welfare Initiative:

The AEACP recognizes that the vast majority of Asian elephants, Elephas maximus, exist within the context of long-standing cultural traditions of domesticity and that there is an obligation to provide these elephants with the best care possible. The AEACP benefits domesticated elephants by:

  • promoting the paintings done by the elephants as a safe, creative alternative source of income to other activities many out-of-work elephants and their caretakers must resort to, such as illegal logging or begging for handouts on city streets.
  • improving veterinary access. Each elephant participating in AEACP programs is regularly inspected and treated when necessary by veterinarians. The AEACP also seeks to increase veterinary access in general by establishing scholarship programs for veterinary training of elephant specialists.
  • furthering the education of traditional elephant caretakers (“mahouts” or “pawangs”). Through workshops, seminars and cultural exchange, elephant caretakers learn the best traditional as well as modern methods in training, safety and care. This education will be augmented through the distribution of elephant management handbooks and training videos translated into multiple languages.
  • raising funds for projects designed to meet specific needs of local elephant camps such as water filtration systems and milk banks.

II. Conservation Initiative:

The AEACP supports the premise that wherever possible, the most humane treatment of elephants is achieved by allowing them to exist naturally in their native habitats. Therefore funds raised by the AEACP’s work with domesticated elephants are also used to help support:

  • preservation and management of protected natural habitats for wild elephant populations.
  • established conservation agencies such as WildAid that initiate re-introduction projects and successfully work against illegal poaching.

III. Humanitarian Initiative:

The long-term protection and welfare of domesticated elephants is integrally linked to the quality of life of their caretakers and members of the surrounding community. As such, AEACP provides:

  • direct income to elephant caretakers earned through the sale of artwork painted by their elephants
  • funding for projects designed to improve overall quality of life for members of the community. Such projects would be relevant to local environmental and economic needs. Examples could include education and cultural programs, as well as public works projects such as such as libraries, water and sanitation projects, etc.

IV. Artistic Initiative:

Originally conceived as a conceptual art project, the AEACP pushes the boundaries of art as charity, while questioning our notions of artist and intent. The AEACP:

  • supervises the gentle teaching of various painting techniques to elephants and caretakers using non-toxic art supplies.
  • encourages the development and exploration of individual artistic styles, sometimes in collaboration with local artists.
  • raises public awareness through worldwide elephant art exhibitions, lectures, and auctions that showcase the plight of domesticated elephants and wild elephants facing extinction.
  • is developing an affordable line of non-toxic quality paints for use by elephants and caretakers as well as underprivileged children in developing countries.

 

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